It had been a whole month since I had excitedly confirmed my place with the Catalyst team when my first day suddenly came around. You can try and prepare all you want; an early night sleep, a good dinner, a read-over of the website but when your body clock decides a 5 o’clock wake up is in order, there’s nothing much you can do. Unable to get back to sleep due to a mixture of nerves and excitement I decided I could use these hours to fuel up big time.
The expression ‘jump in with both feet’ is something I would advise to all people starting this job because if you don’t jump, you’re certainly pushed. Right from the off I found out I had 7 clients already and was immediately glad for the big breakfast.
My first task was: ‘Write a blog on GDPR for HareDigital’.
Feeling a bit out of my depth I thrashed about in the murky waters of GDPR alone for a while. Soon I found myself questioning how my degree in English was not manifesting into some sort of blog-writing lifejacket and I felt lost, ultimately getting nowhere. But soon enough my fellow Catalyst team mates waded in to help. Before long two colleagues had sent me breakdowns on GDPR and another had sent me a blog writing tips-sheet. Slowly I find out what GDPR actually was and soon enough I was getting to grips with it.
Having done an English degree my perception of blogs was how I imagine Jackson Pollock viewed his kid’s drawings. Yeah, the work looks just about the same, the same technique, same tools but it’s not art, there’s no real skill involved. Soon enough I learnt how wrong I was. Blogs are hard.
Not only do you have to adapt your clients tone of voice, but you also must keep the thing light, chatty – something I had not experienced with my uni essays on Larkin. Thankfully though the team war far less distrustful then Mr. Larkin and everyone I asked was providing me with a bounty of useful tips and tricks. Before long I realised that although this was hard for me, the team around seemed to find this simple and natural. Like me, at one point these people had been thrashing about in the deep waters of real work, getting slapped in the face with waves of unknown acronyms. And yet, here they were. Living, breathing and most impressively very well-rounded individuals.
Not only were they smart, but they were friendly, accommodating and most importantly relatable. It’s not often you are excited about 12 months of hard work but when I looked around and saw these people I knew that If I buckled down & rode the waves then I too would be able to navigate the seas of business as well as these sailors.
I’m currently one month in and I can’t tell you how much I’ve learnt already. Its sink or swim here and with the responsibility on you not only does it keep you busy - it keeps you interested. Previous jobs had retained a fairly similar day plan, start with x, end with y. In catalyst you can expect your day to go something like x,y,f,e,x,a,p,l,x, and the order is never the same.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most interesting people I’ve met, entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas, staff with brilliant facilities and a team with vast experience.
If you saw my timesheet it might look like some crazed kid had attacked it with a colouring pen, but what I see is challenges achieved. That blue smudge of a week was me creating a business plan for a Turkish Jewellery investor, that regular orange mark is me going to Croydon to work first hand with clients, that yellow blur is me running the social media pages for a top law firm. Each of these tasks is rewarding in their own way and it’s impossible to get tired of them because they always change.
I’m somewhat over the initial sea sickness now and yet I know that it will come back. Again, I will be faced with something I don’t know how to do and I will have to overcome it. But with the support of my fellow team & senior staff I feel confident, not that it will be easy, but that In the end, I will learn how to do it.